Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blogger interview: Stacked!


Stacked is a blog not to be missed but come and meet two of the three librarians, Kelly and Kimberly before you rush off to see.  Thank you for joining in the fun today!

* Please tell us a little about your blog.
STACKED is run by three librarians with the goals of talking books in a manner that connects them to the right reader. We're honest and thoughtful in our reviews. As librarians, we are aware that literacy comes in many formats, so we strive to include not just physical book reviews, but also reviews of audiobooks, videos, music, zines, graphic novels, and other materials easily found in the stacks.

While our main emphasis is on reviewing books, we're not all about the reviews.  We also regularly discuss cover designs, publishing trends, award lists, and periodically host book giveaways.

  * How did it all start?   And how long has it been?
It began in April 2009 after discussing how fun a group blog about books would be from the perspective of librarians. And here we are today!

    * How much time and energy do you put into your blog?
Kelly: The bulk of time is in reading and thinking, as well as connecting with other bloggers and readers. It's less about writing time for me, though a good book review can run upwards of 2 hours to write for me. On a week, I'd say I probably put between 5 and 10 hours of work in. Sometimes I get ahead and sometimes I have so much to catch up on that it can vary widely.

Kimberly: It depends.  When I read a book that I have a lot to say about - good or bad - then I tend to put more time and energy into the review, particularly if I have some major criticisms.  If I love the book, I spend quite a bit of time crafting the review, because I want to convince everyone they should go out and read it RIGHT THIS SECOND.  For books that fall in the middle range - not bad but not great either - I can whip out the review pretty fast.  I don't sit down at my computer and write a whole passel of posts at once - I type a little here, a little there, interspersed among watching tv, reading, working, cooking, and so on.  This makes it difficult to really add up the time I spend blogging.

  * What is the best and the worst part of blogging for you?
Kelly: Best for me is three fold -- First, I've learned to read so many different things and have come to find my real passion in reading. I know EXACTLY what I like and I can pinpoint almost perfectly what I don't when I'm reading a book. Second, the fact I know what I say actually matters to someone. The number of people who say they buy books off our recommendations or use our recommendations to share books with other people (this is especially the case with teachers and librarians). And lastly, the incredible friendships I've made both with other bloggers, other librarians, and even authors. It's kind of surreal.

Kimberly: Like Kelly, I really relish when someone comments that my review helped them decide whether or not to pick up the book.  My opinion mattered to them!  It's a rush.  This happened with my recent review of Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst.  I didn't care for the book as a whole, and my review described exactly why.  Because I was detailed enough in my description of the novel's shortcomings for me as a reader, I had one person comment they would pass on it - and another mention that she would pick it up, since those shortcomings weren't really aspects of a novel that mattered as much to her.
The worst part of blogging is probably the negativity in comments.  This happens rarely, but it does happen.  Mostly it's readers or authors getting very defensive over a book they loved or wrote.  I think people should be secure enough in their opinions not to be offended by my opinions, especially when I'm careful to state why I don't like something.

* Do you enjoy doing memes and if so, which ones can be found on your blog?
Kelly: I do In My Mailbox when I remember to, but otherwise, memes seem to kind of be more work than worthwhile for me, personally. I also get bored with reading other people's memes -- Waiting on Wednesday is weird to me (though I get why some people love it) and Fragment Friday isn't my style. I prefer making my own content when I can. Even if it means I don't post as much as other blogs.

Kimberly: Honestly, memes are boring to me.  And I think they're lazy blogging.

* How would you describe your review style and how do you handle reviews when you didn't enjoy the book?
Kelly: I'm honest and thoughtful. I hit on everything I can that is strong and point out weak things, too. Most importantly, though, is I always try to match the book up with the right reader, even if it's not me. I try to always include readalikes or where the book fits in a genre spectrum. And when I don't enjoy the book, I know why and say as much.

Kimberly: I covered this a little bit in a previous question.  I try to be as fair as possible, but I don't pull my punches either.  If a book is bad, I will say it's bad. If I see something good in an otherwise bad book, I'll point that out too.  And if I see an audience for that bad book, I'll be sure to mention it.
When I write reviews, I also try to be a little funny and a little personal, so our readers don't feel like they're reading an extended Booklist review, and they get to know me a little too.  You can tell me if I succeed with the funny bit (or don't and spare my feelings?).

* What can we expect from you in the future?
Kelly: Honestly? More of the same. I have been conscious of talking more backlist titles as of late, so perhaps more of that if anything.

Kimberly: Just plugging along as usual.  I'm reading a lot more graphic novels, so I'll be reviewing a lot more of those too.

  * What advice would you give new book bloggers out there?
Kelly: Read a lot of blogs, and don't just read the "big name" bloggers. Read widely and thoughtfully. Take notes on books if you have to. Most importantly, keep going. It starts slow. You just gotta connect with other bloggers and readers through commenting, through goodreads, through Twitter, whatever means you're most comfortable with. It's a lot of work but the rewards (see favorite parts!) are worth it. And don't let anyone tell you you can't. You can. You will find your niche and your groove.

Kimberly: Please give your posts some substance.  As a blog reader and a book reader, I want to see posts that make me think, that tell me exactly why a book is good or bad, why it did or did not appeal to you, and it needs to go beyond an awesome or lame cover design.  Is the book a good one?  Why?  "Well, it just is!" is not good enough.

Thank you once again, Girls – I am taking your advice to heart :)

If you would like to be part of the blogger interview fun, you can send me a message through my “contact me” page.


  1. Thanks again for interviewing us! This was a lot of fun.

  2. Cool! Thanks for the interview opportunity!


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